I am the luckiest girl in the world. Is it because I have the prettiest cat in the world?
No, although that is certainly one of the perks of being me. (Okay, I admit that is a completely gratuitous picture of my cat, but being better behaved than Tigger – and therefore not always jumping on the counter – Brachtune felt left out of the blog.) The reason I am the luckiest girl in the world is my husband actually requests Brussels sprouts for dinner! Often! This is good news for me because I love Brussels sprouts; I may have been the only child in America to like them as a kid. Mark likes Brussels sprouts so much that if he gets a hankering for them, he will drive to the store and buy them – and he’s not a fan of going to the grocery store.
On a recent visit to our hometown of Baltimore, a friend took us to his neighborhood bar, which was not only a really cool place, but apparently has the surprising reputation of making amazing Brussels sprouts, of all things. Mark ordered the Brussels sprouts, of course, and boy, they were good! Soon afterward – I believe it was the next night, in fact – Mark wanted some more of the balsamic sprouts, so I set about recreating the recipe. Tonight I shall share it with you, although it’s so simple I barely consider it a recipe. Here’s all you need:
That’s Brussels sprouts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt. About the balsamic vinegar: if you don’t wince at the price tag, you probably aren’t buying real balsamic vinegar. When I first cooked with balsamic vinegar, I couldn’t figure out why the results were so…not good. It turns out the stuff I had purchased in the grocery store for three or four dollars doesn’t even approach being real balsamic vinegar. Real balsamic vinegar will usually put you back at least $100. This Fini stuff, which I got at Whole Foods, for I think about $12, has only been aged for 12 months, which is a few years short of the really good stuff, but it’s pretty good. Mark would probably hesitate to request Brussels sprouts as often as he does if he knew I was coating them in $$$, so I’m happy with the Fini, although I WILL buy a good balsamic vinegar when I have the chance. But to your recipe:
Brussels Sprouts Roasted in Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
finishing salt, to taste (I use Maldon and love it.)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash your Brussels sprouts, trim the ends if necessary (or remove from the stalk if you were lucky enough to buy them that way), remove any unsightly layers, and then cut in half lengthwise. If the sprouts are flatter in one direction than the other, cut so they are wide, not tall, as shown:
Place the oil and vinegar in a small bowl:
(This photo is here just because I think it’s neat.)
Then emulsify by whisking:
Put some of the Brussels sprouts in the bowl and use your hands to mix them up with the oil and vinegar, thoroughly coating each sprout half:
If you are fortunate to have a Brussels sprouts fiend for a husband, as I am, watch out, as he may try to eat the bowl:
Arrange in a single layer, cut side down, on a baking sheet or pan:
Sprinkle with the salt:
Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes. You want them to be dark, almost black in places, but you also don’t want to cook them until the point of mushiness.
Tonight I served them with the Risotto with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure, although I used asparagus instead of broccoli rabe.
These Brussels sprouts are so good your spouse or kids will be piling their plates high!